Today, as we Orthodox Christians once again celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we do so in a way that has never been done before in the history of our Holy Church: isolated from one another, quarantined in our homes due to the deadly novel coronavirus, unable even to gather in church and experience the sacred joy of receiving Holy Communion.
Despite these unusual and distressing circumstances, we do rejoice, knowing that this year as in all other years, the truth endures that Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life.
Let us also bear in mind the wise words of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew regarding the coronavirus restrictions: “We must acknowledge and accept that these measures do not affect our faith. They do not at all diminish the centrality of the Temple or of its sacred services in the lives of our faithful. These temporary restrictive measures are not decisions against the Church. They do not pertain to our identity as believers, but only to our identity as human beings that ‘bear flesh and dwell in the world.’”
Remember also: this pandemic will end, and when it does, we will once again with gratitude to Almighty God and zeal for His Church take up our labors to protect, defend and strengthen the Apostolic See of Saint Andrew. The unwaning light of the Phanar will continue to enlighten God’s oikoumene, and the bells of Saint George Patriarchal Cathedral will continue to ring joyously and freely with the good news that Christ has conquered death. In the meantime, we pray fervently for those of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who are persecuted simply for professing their faith in the Risen and Triumphant Lord. May they today experience the joy of the Resurrection with us.
On this Feast of Feasts, the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America and Defenders of the Faith, expresses our deep gratitude to His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Exarch His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, as well as to the Holy Eparchial Synod, to our Spiritual Advisor Fr. Alexander Karloutsos and to all our parish priests who during these difficult days brilliantly managed through today’s technology to bring The Word and the Light of the Resurrection to all our homes during this unprecedented Holy Week. Maria and our entire family also join me in wishing all Archons and your beloved families a Pascha that is resplendent with the joy of the Risen Lord.
Χριστός Ανέστη! Ἀληθῶς Aνέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
Христос воскрес! Воістину воскрес!
Anthony J. Limberakis, MD